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    Thread: DIY: Replace T-Stat housing and Crack Pipe (12v VR6)

    1. 01-17-2010 05:05 PM #71
      Guys I am in the middle of this DYI and I have to say this is very hard to do.

      I have a 2002 GTI VR6 12v and the Crack Pipe is leaking really bad.
      So far I have removed the battery, the air filter case, and the thermostat housing.
      Now I am trying to remove the Crack Pipe but I just can not figure how to remove it. I want to know if the whole steps were written expecting the from bumper with the head lights, the radiator and fans off?

      I have not removed any of these parts off and now I am stuck at the part where the crack pipe is next to come out. I do no have space to work from the front top of the engine and I can not reach the air pump.

      I just want to know if is necessary to remove the front bumper just like in the picture, and if is necessary to remove it, how can you remove all that?

      Thank you all.


    2. Member nyphats's Avatar
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      01-17-2010 06:13 PM #72
      This thread makes me really happy to have a 1.8!

    3. Member
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      02-16-2010 06:43 PM #73
      Does this walkthrough fit for a tstat housing replace on a MkIII VR6?

      BTW, I'm a little scared about this one but I'm ready.....VW of Chicago just quoted me 330 in parts and 3.5 hours at 130/hr. WTF!!


    4. Member Tropic09's Avatar
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      03-22-2010 09:41 AM #74
      just finished mine took me a long time! basicly prolly close to 10 hours. Well first it took around6 hours total but vw/audi makes a poor design temperature housing (the peice that clamps to the block) the O ring was too small and it seemed that the only pressure points that held were where the bolts went it. Basicly i got the car back together and it was leaking from a weakpoint in the housing. I tourqed them the same but the sealant on the housing is very poorly designed. I used some gasket sealer where the O ring is it seemed to have worked. My advice just put some gasket sealer on before messing around with that. Also take your time there are allot of fragile hoses that wouldnt mind breaking.

    5. Member boosted_mk4gti's Avatar
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      07-31-2010 12:42 PM #75
      good write up

    6. n00b
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      08-02-2010 10:50 AM #76
      Finished this up yesterday. Could not have completed this work without this DIY. Nice work. Oddly, reassembly took half the time I thought it would. Inserting the smog pump (which is easily the worst part) without removing the AC compressor pump is easily doable, you just can't put the bolts on the plastic bracket. You have to do it after it's in place and then slide the plastic bracket on the metal one. With a set of long, ball end, hex sockets, this job gets way easier. That and the fact that the front end easily comes off for easy access to the front of the block. Remove the bumper, unscrew 6 bolts and your pretty much done.

      I'd never been that deep into a repair on this car before and I'm glad I did. I know my car way better now and I wont hesitate to get in there again.

    7. Junior Member
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      08-03-2010 01:40 PM #77
      How on earth do you get that dam smog pump out i have no clue?? I took the three bolts off and dont see how you get it off, any tipss?

    8. 09-26-2010 06:08 PM #78
      I have engine overheating coming up all the time, after about two years of slow leaking coolant adding extra every six months or so. Having removed the airbox and battery and the coil pack, I see that coolant is somehow leaking under the thermostat housing onto the transmission. Hence am going to continue with this DIY. Some questions:

      1. Do you really have to open up the lock carrier into the service position?
      2. Some folks in the thread say they only had to remove the thermostat housing. Do I really have to do everything up to crack pipe? If I find that the T-stat housing is defective, would it be enough to do just that?
      3. I'n very concerned about the spilling coolant. The car is on some public land and people are passing by. How can you make sure you gather all the coolant spilling, like folks show in the pics there with milk gallong full of it? Do you capture it in basins, or into the jugs right after unhooking hoses?
      4. Some folks mentioned using 4" Vise Grips (?) for holding hose clamps open when detaching them, or channel locks. Is there a pic of said tool somewhere?
      5. When diagnosing the problem, removing the coil pack helped to see under the T-stat housing. Does it help to remove it?
      Last edited by braver; 09-26-2010 at 07:02 PM.

    9. Semi-n00b
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      10-04-2010 09:45 PM #79
      Great write up. Couldnt of tackled this job without it. Bought a '00 VR6 2 months ago and I know im going to have to rely on the DIY's quite a bit. It has 135k miles on it but its spotless in and out and I only paid $4k. Figure the work is going to be well worth it for the fun that comes with driving.

      My question is...since I already have the entire front end tore apart what else should I think about replacing while Im in there?

      Also, is it really worth the extra $100 for the billet crack pipe & t-stat kit. My t-stat housing looks pretty good so I dont want to spend the money that I could put into other upgrades on unecessary parts. On the flip side, the last thing I want to have to do is tear apart the entire front end in another 2months.

      I appreciate any feedback.

    10. Member
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      10-18-2010 09:09 PM #80
      In the middle of this DIY, how the hell do you take off the smog pump and the tucked away thermostat bolt, i cant reach it. This is a PITA to the max.
      C'mon VW...really?

    11. Member swagger rob's Avatar
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      10-19-2010 07:15 AM #81
      Quote Originally Posted by greenjet View Post
      In the middle of this DIY, how the hell do you take off the smog pump and the tucked away thermostat bolt, i cant reach it. This is a PITA to the max.
      C'mon VW...really?
      there should be 3 allen bolts securing it to the bracket and one single connector for the SAI pump. the bracket is held on by the manifold bolts.

    12. Member
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      10-21-2010 09:36 PM #82
      Quote Originally Posted by swagger rob View Post
      there should be 3 allen bolts securing it to the bracket and one single connector for the SAI pump. the bracket is held on by the manifold bolts.
      Yeah it's disconnected but how do you take off the pump? The bolt securing the housing on the manifold is extremely difficult to take off, do you have to take off the battery? I think i need a longer allen wrench (hex key)

    13. Member swagger rob's Avatar
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      10-22-2010 07:33 AM #83
      There are two pieces to the bracket, one that is secured to the manifold by a couple allen bolts, the other piece actually holds the pump. The part that holds the pump basically clips in to the bracket being held on by the manifold. You should just be able to yank it out. That's how I did mine

    14. Member
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      10-22-2010 05:55 PM #84
      Did it, phew!
      Ok, should i replace the oil cooler hose that goes to the engine? It's ridiculously hard to do, they seem like they're in ok shape.

      Thanks for the DIY!
      Last edited by greenjet; 10-25-2010 at 09:14 PM.

    15. 10-27-2010 09:53 PM #85
      wheredo you buy the parts, preferably as a kit, today?

    16. 11-02-2010 04:03 PM #86
      does it mention you need to unplug the ect sensor, and how exactly do you do that so as not to break the plastic connector going onto it?

    17. 11-09-2010 02:22 PM #87
      I've replaced my thermostat housing and everything in it. Some lessons.

      The car was on the ground. I don't have a garage at the moment, and parked on soil. The fact that the winter is coming made the time of essence, but I dreaded removing the lock carrier to service position as I was not sure what will happen if I leave it like that in the rain, and wrapping it with a tarp is not easy-looking. So I decided to leave the lock carrier in place and not do the crack pipe if it's OK, and focus on the t-stat housing only.

      I managed to take off the bumper skin before that, and found that a bolt under a lower grille was stuck -- only after I stripped it. I had to get the special bits with reverse grooves to get it out. These Jettas have a low-hanging bumper, prone to tearing off after running over curbs. I did a few mild overruns and my buddy a big one, and I found that I was missing one lower grille, on the driver's side, and all screws in the wheel well there were loose, just held by the well, as the bumper's holes all broke, as well as the bumper's hole for the bolt in that grille. I'm not sure how to repair it, just left as is for now.

      The mud-guard under the car also had one screw stripped, it wouldn't come out, sitting in the spoiler covering the draining petcock. First I wanted to dremel it off, but it's hard to get to and risky as the spoiler may recoil, so I got the bolt cutters and freed it. Whoever was taking the mud guard off before just tore it off that bolt, but there was enough meat for the new one. I went to the dealer and got new screws like that and ordered more bumper bolts instead of the stripped one.

      I unhooked the spoiler and drained from the petcock into a 2 liter glass milk bottle. It would lodge firmly at an angle against the ground and around the petcock. Then I'd seal one and replace by another. When I was taking the hoses and housing off, another 1.5 liters spilled, which I captured into a flat storage box from Walmart on the ground.

      In the engine compartment, I removed the airbox and saw the black gunk under the housing, hinting at the leak there. Then I removed the battery and the partition separating it from the airbox -- I was waiting for a reason to do it for a while, and it makes a huge difference! So much space. I also removed the coil pack. I replaced it already before, with a new OEM from fcpgroton.com, and the Bosch connector on it was cracked. It wouldn't come off at all, so I just pulled it from the above, and the cracked part just flew away. This connector needs babying. Even if you broke it, you still can fix it, apparently, like here:

      http://bmw.e30tuner.com/articles_condis1.php

      But I left my as is as it still got the back wall of the outer part and sits tight.

      I disconnected the hoses, but left the one on the metal rail in front of the radiator as it was too tight; I simply disconnected the other end. The key here is to use the right hose clamp removing tool. The awesomest is made by OEM, $35 at AutoZone. It has a long cable with a grip at the end. You can easily position it on each and every clamp we inherited from the factory, even the front rail facing down! No need to touch that lock carrier just for a hose clamp. I love that tool.

      The housing failed in the usual place, in the short wall. Got the steel wool and 400 sand paper to polish the engine block under the t-stat housing. I got all my parts from MJM Autohaus and they shipped it superfast, so I could do my repair on a Saturday. I got the T-stat kit fr 80C, as I read that 70C mod is not good for the winter and I didn't find any voices for it, so stuck with OEM. I tested both thermostats, the old Wahler and the new Behr, alongside, in a pot of hot water, boiling them. The old one failed to open, apparently, -- perhaps that had lead to the sudden overheating by gauge and warning after 2-3 years of slow leaking. Align the thermostats and watch them open, then slowly dilute hot water with the cold one. I cooled fast and heard a loud crack, possibly Behr closing?

      I got a new ECT sensor from MJM as well. I've already had a green top on my '00 Jetta VR6, so it might have been replaced. Since I thought the thermostat failed, ECT might have been OK, and I used it instead of the plug in the second hole of the t-stat housing. I put the new one closer to the right side of the car, so it's right under the VW corner engine cover. Here I made a small mistake -- I wanted to orient the ECT sensors with their tabs up, so I would have easier time moving the plug from one to another (new to old, right to left) in case of ECT failure. However I inserted them in the opposite direction, tabs down. When pushing in the retaining clips, I had to use a lot of force, since they grind against each other. I noticed the tabs facing down only when putting the t-stat housing back in and screwing the bolts back in with a new torque wrench. BTW, the DIY says 10 Nm, while Bentley shows 8 Nm consistently for every bolt going into the aluminum engine block.

      I got a new clock-style torque wrench ($30 from Amazon) and tested it on the old housing and cover with the recommended 5 Nm. It clicks once when tightened, but keeps working if you keep going, so be careful!

      So now I thought, before I close the working area with hoses, I'll pull the clips and reorient the sensors. Then I thought better of it, but then again decided to pull a bit -- and broke the clip, of course. The clips and the pliers flew to the ground, with the loud fscks in all directions. Then I faced a dilemma: should I push down the remaining half and insert a new clip, or secure the other half and leave it? I couldn't get another clip that day anyways and decided to keep going, wrapping the broken half in some plastic and sticking it in. I reassembled the hoses and filled the system with 1.5 gallons of distilled water -- it didn't take more. I used screw-style clamps, except for one I lacked; I used the old loose one that day, then simply pushed it aside and added a screw-style one. I wanted to leave the car like that overnight to see if it leaks, but fortunately checked the temperature -- is was going to be 27F overnight, the water would have frozen and torn the radiator. I proceeded with draining about a gallon of water and adding a gallon of coolant which I bought in advance. To my surprize, the draining "water" was as red as coolant. At least half a gallon was hiding in the crack pipe and elsewhere, probably; I added about 4/5 of a gallon of coolant, and ran the car for an hour; the level held after a few refills.

      Next day I got a bike spoke and tried to push the remaining half-clip down, but it stuck super-hard, and I left it in place. I then found a hard-plastic knife with a wider back, cut it in half, and dremeled it to width and thickness to fit the old t-stat housing next to the plug. I then stuck it on the right, and it sits super-snugly.

      I believe we need better retaining clips, e.g. spring-like, made of metal. It's amazing that folks are suffering with the existing clips, that two clips don't easily go in together next to each other, and nobody offers a better clip yet!

      So instead of paying for 4 hours at the stealership, I've learned something and got the following tools:

      -- GearWrench hollow ratchet (Sears)
      -- Husky stubby ratchet kit from HomeDepot, a steal at $15, extenders
      -- Crescent wrench (HomeDepot)
      -- OEM Hose clamp removing tool, magnetic pickup (AutoZone)
      -- Vise grips, long nose (Sears)
      -- Bolt cutters (HomeDepot)
      -- Dremel with a bunch of attachments (Amazon)
      -- T-style screwdriver, 1/4" ratcheting screwdriver
      -- torque wrenches, 20-200 in/lb, 120-920 in/lb (Amazon, AutoZone)

      This is still less than what I'd spend paying for work, not to mention the parts. Burlington Foreign Car Parts carries the darn clips and other VW parts as well in case you need one fast and locally in New England and New York City.

      We need a better housing with better clips. Dispose of the old coolant at a local toxic waste facility -- I managed to catch it all. Put a paper towel on the ground if you spill it right away, collect into a plastic bag. I'll probably remember more...

      Some useful links:

      Rabi Tahir's complement to the DIY:

      http://sites.google.com/site/rabitah...cooling-system

      The lock carrier bolts are M8x1.25, he mentions long ones from Napa for $6, but offers a better way to support the lock carrier.

      Various threads at these forums, such as the 24v crack pipe version, ECT replacement DIY...
      Last edited by braver; 11-11-2010 at 02:45 PM.

    18. Junior Member 00vr6doyle's Avatar
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      02-17-2011 11:33 AM #88
      it took me two days to do the crackpipe for the first time using this DIY...after i put it all back together the car overheated again and started leaking around the tstat housing....so i had to take everything apart again and replaced the tstat and cleaned up the surface of the block where the tstat housing mates to it...took about 6hrs the second time around....awesome DIY

    19. Junior Member palto123's Avatar
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      03-14-2011 12:48 AM #89
      I love my 2001 VR6, but this is TOO much, I'm thinking of selling now...

      about 4 months ago I had to change the coolant/water pump by using one of the DIY from VWVORTEX.com, I changed the spark plugs, changed the oil (all synthetic), and spent 2 hours cleaning my car, and it felt brand new, I WAS LOVING IT, I would stop at a red light and could not hear the engine, I even turned off the radio... But it only lasted 32-hours. I was heading to a park when I went over a pothole doing 27mph-MAX, I just didn't see it at all, and it did not sound good... I broke the small opening of the crank-pie...

      whats next - buy a crank pipe and replace it this week... and I know that once I'm done fixing the car, I'm not gonna wanna sell it... So far its been a love/hate relationship with my 2001 VR6.

      ANYWAYS, I just needed to get that of my chest...

      THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE DIY ---Today When I worked on it, I took the entire front off (bumper, lights, grill, etc), I know that's not in your DIY but I might do it again just in case something else broke so that I can have a clearer view.

    20. n00b Dylox78's Avatar
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      05-12-2011 10:20 AM #90
      Ok so sorry I am replying on a thread that is 5 years old, but I am about to undertake this project. I Bought the Thermostat Housing, and Crack Pipe, and Thermostat. Now
      I am going to reuse the same sensors, but I want to replace the Sensor Orings. Any idea on the part numbers for the sensor orings? and the gaskets and orings for the rest of the T-Stat housing?
      "would you be willing to believe a General Motor product---not only beat but flat out embarrassed a Nürburgring'd all star twin turbo AWD Porche on a tricky, challenging, high speed race track? What's next, a black president?" -Motor Trend

    21. 07-21-2011 11:12 AM #91
      I would like to know this also, please

    22. n00b FurioustylezVR6's Avatar
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      07-28-2011 11:30 AM #92
      Great tutorial. Had to change my crakpipe yesterday. This really helped.

    23. n00b
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      10-27-2011 02:12 PM #93
      This replacement is going to take forever

    24. Member vr6pilot's Avatar
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      12-07-2011 10:58 PM #94
      Fresh pics for imagination deficit kids.


      Keurig...because landfill.

    25. Junior Member camelb17's Avatar
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      12-15-2011 11:32 AM #95
      is there any way to specifically locate which part is failing here? i want to see what i can do before i go out and pay for all the parts when in actuality probably only need a few. thanks

    26. Member vrbwoy's Avatar
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      12-15-2011 12:26 PM #96
      nice helpful

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      12-15-2011 09:42 PM #97
      My dad and i are working on this and we just found out where the leak was coming from (crack pipe) and we're about to grab the part from our dealer.

      After finding this, i imagine replacement and reassembling should be alot easier!

      Nice DIY.

      Goal is to casually work and hopefully have it ddone by next week or so, not in too much of a rush.

    28. Junior Member
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      02-09-2012 09:14 AM #98
      Bought my 2001 Jetta GLX VR6 as a parts car for my TDI , basically stole it from the dude for next to nothing .. Missing on one cylinder , leaking coolant .. blah blah blah ..
      After driving it home , and cleaning up the interior I thought may as well see whats wrong with the engine.
      Missing on one cylinder = Coil Pack ... easy fix .
      Coolant leak = T Stat housing by the look of it.

      So have decided to replace the POS ageing Sunfire my wife is driving after fixing this Jetta up.

      After reading through this complete DIY , and thread I don't see a parts list with part Numbers , someone posted near the beginning that they would post them when they go home from work, but I don't see the post.

      Thinking of ordering the parts from http://www.evwparts.com , any comments about this online seller?

      Here is the parts list I have put together ;

      Thermostat Housing - 12 valve VR6
      Part #: 021121117A
      Price: $24.95

      Thermostat Housing Seal
      Part #: 021121119A
      Price: $2.95

      Thermostat Housing Cover
      Part #: 021121121A
      Price: $7.95

      Thermostat
      Part #: 075121113D
      Price: $18.95

      Thermostat O-Ring
      Part #: 034121119
      Price: $1.50

      Coolant Sensor O-Ring ( Qty 3 )
      Part #: N90316802
      Price: $0.89

      Coolant Pipe Seal
      Part #: N10139201
      Price: $0.75

      Coolant Pipe
      Part #: 021121050C
      Price: $14.95
      All but the crack pipe are listed as a kit at a reduced price .

      http://www.evwparts.com/Merchant2/me...ode=021198117A


      The out standing parts from the list are which I'm not sure what I will need

      ECU Temp sensor
      AC Switch
      2 sensor O-Rings


      Any help would be greatly appreciated .

      Thanks,
      Mike

    29. 03-02-2012 03:19 AM #99
      Invaluable DIY thread! Really help ease the anxiety and frustration. Just finished it tonight.

      Had two leaks:

      1) On the Crack Pipe where the nipple for the small hose attached, completely cracked off the pipe
      2) T-housing seal failed at the block

      The GTI sat for a month as I was avoiding doing it. But it wasn't as bad as I thought, took me 4hours start to finish. I kept the car on the ground and I didn't remove the airbox, I just removed/installed the backside allen bolt through feel. All those years working on 944 Turbos certainly helped!

      Here's where I ordred, just went with the OEM plastic one.
      http://www.ecstuning.com/Volkswagen-...ling/ES257347/

    30. 04-03-2012 01:34 PM #100
      Hey there VWvortex members,

      This DIY really helped me out. As I completed this job, my mind constantly thought about all of those who have gone before me with thoughts like "if they could do it, so can I". I also wonder how many people are still using this DIY. I'm just glad that this thread is still alive!

      I have a 2001 Jetta GLX VR6 12v that developed a coolant leak about 2 months ago (right at about 115k miles). The leak started off as just some minor dripping only when the car sat for more than an hour after driving. Then, it started to progress after about 2 weeks and then on the way home about a month ago, got the dreaded "STOP" coolant low warning display on the dash accompanied with a loud warning beep. I added some water and barely made it home with the temp pegged to the right of the gauge.

      Thankfully, I found this forum and after calling several dealers and mechanics just to see how much money I would be saving, decided to do this myself.

      After reading every single thread and all of the suggestions made, I decided to replace all of the following while I had the car torn apart:
      1) Thermostat
      2) Thermostat housing and seals
      3) Crack Pipe
      4) Water Pump
      5) Serpentine Belt
      6) Remove the Airbox and install a cold air intake

      I ordered the Billet Aluminum crack pipe and Tstat housing w/ seals from ECSTuning. They took almost 2 weeks to get the parts to me. (They are in California and I'm in the Atlanta area) But, when the beautifully polished crack pipe arrived, it would not fit. The pipe was about 1/2" too long and the oil valve was not placed where the tubing could reach. It was then that I realized that I have a 12v and not a 24v VR6. My heart sunk. Here I was with my daily driver on a Saturday, hoping to get this all done by Monday. I knew ECS was closed for the weekend and that they could take another couple of weeks so I reached out to the source: Paul at GruvenParts.com. To my surprise, he answered the phone listed on his website. To make it better, I found out he lives in the Atlanta area and agreed to simply swap my 24v crack pipe for a 12v so I borrowed a friend's truck and made the swap. Thank you Paul!

      I followed the extreme version of the DIY by removing the locker assembly, battery, airbox, secondary air pump and everything else that was in the way.


      When I got it all back together, no leaks...at least for 2 days. Then I noticed some slight dripping. I got under the car and saw a slight drip where the crack pipe meets the engine block. Rather than take everything apart again, I simply removed the battery (the airbox was already gone since I replaced it with a cold air intake pipe) and the two plastic covers that are between the battery and the driver side headlight. Because I carefully placed the clamps in more easily accessible locations, I was able to remove the T-Stat housing and the crackpipe. Much easier than the first time around. I slathered on some gasket sealer this time to the crack pipe, on both ends and the car has been leak free for over a week now.

      FYI... I did some research and found that GM's "Dexcool" (orange in color) is equivalent to the stock G12 which saved over $30.

      After it was all put back together:


      Thanks all!
      Last edited by cee3peo; 04-03-2012 at 01:42 PM.

    31. 06-16-2012 12:12 AM #101
      I did this today. When I got home from work took about 3 or 4 hrs this write up made it possible. We had a slow leak for a long time but recently it started leaking lots. The t stat housing was leaking the seal hadn't been installed right it was pinched this is where the slow leak was . The bung on the crack pipe where the short hose attaches was Brocken right off. Hence the fast leak. The service position was easy to do .i didn't remove the smog pump instead pulled the crack pipe towards where the battery was it was a bit of a hassle putting the new pipe in but have patients and all is possible.

    32. 06-16-2012 12:15 AM #102
      I posted pics of t stat and crack pipe on instagram.

    33. Junior Member
      Join Date
      Mar 25th, 2012
      Location
      Palisades Park, NJ
      Posts
      47
      Vehicles
      2001 VR6 GLX, 91 Jetta GL, 01 Jetta Wolfs 1.8t, 05 Audi A4
      08-22-2012 12:11 AM #103
      I just finished the new housing and pipe install on my 12v VR6.. Wow It was epic... and I feel much better now.. 3hrs to disassemble and 4hrs to get it together. Also, I cleaned and painted a few parts as well as took the time to check a few things out while I had everything open. But, man it was epic. There was one mishap.. When I started the car, I noticed that coolant was slowly dripping from the housing/thermostat area. I drove the car for a while, and the leak went away. Perhaps the o-rings and seals had to set themselves with a heat cycle.. Seems to work ok now...

    34. 09-10-2012 12:34 PM #104
      I lived next to this DIY all day saturday. You really did a superb job man.

      darisd, PM me your paypal and I'll literally buy you a


      My notes about the job:

      1) The prerequisite (Removing the front lock carrier) looked insane to a person who's never done that before. On my 1.8t I replaced fans, compressor and hoses without ever thinking of removing the front of the car. But it wasn't terrible. It took me 2 hours to remove it because I was being extra cautious, If i were to do it again I could probably remove it in 20 minutes or so.

      2) The worst part of the job was removing the smog air pump. The high pressure side hose was brittle and cracked in half (more crappy plastic). also I couldn't remove the pump from the bracket, so I ended up loosening it from the bracket then taking both the bracket and pump out at once. Even to do that was ridiculous.

      3) Must have tool: long (6-7 inch) 5mm hex (aka allen)

      4) It took me about 8 hours, if i did it again it'd take 3.


      Thanks again!

    35. 12-13-2012 10:16 AM #105
      I have a 2000 Jetta VR6 that has been leaking coolant for a while, and recently it just completely blew--somewhere--and I've been reading this thread closely to try and tackle the repairs.

      I still haven't been able to determine where exactly the leak is coming , but it is a "fast" leak. I put coolant in and as it makes it way through the system it immediately drips from somewhere underneath the engine block. I followed darisd's DIY (GREAT write up) on removing the front lock carrier and determined the problem is not the radiator.

      I suspect it might be the thermostat housing area, since it is deep near the engine block, and that's where the dribbling coolant ends up. But I'm still not sure.

      My question is, are original VW parts worth the expense??? I went to my local VW service center this morning and they quoted me about $230 for all the thermostat housing parts, including the crackpipe, thermostat, and seals. The guys warned against just changing the thermostat housing since that whole assembly can fail after so many years. They were really nice and gave me a print out of the whole coolant system diagram, which should come in handy.

      BUT, I've also found links to from this thread to other online parts sellers that have the same parts for MUCH less. For example, ECSTuning has the whole kit here for just $120. Of course that will take a few days to ship whereas the dealer can have the parts for me tomorrow morning.

      Anyone have any thoughts on VW parts vs online parts? The service guy from VW warned against cheap Chinese plastic parts. Is that a real consideration, or should I save myself $100+ by getting the ECSTuning parts??

      Any feedback would be appreciated. I should mention this is my first car and I knew nothing about engines / repairs before this issue. Thankfully by my brother and friend know enough so we can tackle the repairs with some guidance from these threads. Thanks!

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